12 posts tagged Zoology
12 posts tagged Zoology
This awesome video from Peru shows a tiny green hummingbird, a female Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus amethysticollis), fast asleep and snoring sweetly. Yep, today we all learned that hummingbirds snore.
Okay, we’ll fess up, she might not actually be snoring (but we like to think so). “The high pitched squeaking sound it is making is likely a cute side-effect of the gaping for oxygen.” This is part of the process of waking up from the state of torpor regularly used by hummingbirds to conserve energy.
And if you’re wondering what sort of container this teensy-weensy creature is sleeping in: “The bird is in a container that is attached to machines that measure how much oxygen the bird is consuming. The noise you are hearing is the hum of the machines in the background (the main one being the FoxBox). The noise is actually a lot more quiet than it seems, for whatever reason my camera picked it up and made it sound a lot louder.” Click here and go to the “about” section to learn more.
If this isn’t the most awesomely cute thing you see today, then you might be dreaming.
[Video and information via forrestertr7]
From the Department of Awesome Animal Anatomy comes this post by astronomy-to-zoology about Woodpecker Tongues.
“The woodpecker’s tongue can extend 2/3 its body length. Its tongue is covered in sticky saliva and barbs all over with an ear (a hearing mechanism) at the end of it. So it can listen to its prey. It detects sound. The tongue is so long that it fits its tongue in its head by wrapping around its brain and around its eye sockets. It can move its head/beak up to 15-16 times per second as it strikes a tree. This is incredibly fast. It creates immense forces, 250 more times than astronauts are subjected to. It is 1,000 G’s. The woodpecker has cartilage around the brain that keeps it from shattering.”
That’s one impressive tongue.
Learning is awesome!
Reblogged from astronomy-to-zoology
This tentacular little cutie might just be a brand new species of octopus. He’s one of 11 potentially new species discovered in July 2010 during a deep-sea expedition conducted by a team of Canadian and Spanish researchers. The team used a remotely operated vehicle (called ROPOS) in the waters off Newfoundland on Canada’s Atlantic coast, working at a maximum depth of about 9,800 feet (3,000 meters).
The 20-day expedition aims to uncover relationships between cold-water coral and other bottom-dwelling creatures in a pristine yet “alien” environment, according to the researchers’ blog. “It’s been really spectacular,” Ellen Kenchington, research scientist with the Fisheries Department of Canada—one of the organizations involved in the project—told Canada’s CTV News website. “It’s really changing our perception of the diversity that’s out there. … We’re seeing new species in deeper waters.”
How exciting! So, if this purple cephalopod does turn out to be a previously unknown species, what would you name him?
Photograph courtesy of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography
[via National Geographic]
Here’s a short video worth watching right here and now and then setting aside for a moment when you need a personal cheerleader to help motivate or cheer you up. The punchy little creature you see in this video, confidently wielding two sea anemones in his tiny claws, is a boxer crab. Once you watch the video you’ll understand why these crustaceans are also known as pom-pom crabs.
The boxer crabs and sea anemones have an awesome mutualistic relationship. Although the anemones are not required for their survival, the crabs use them for personal defense and in return the anemones get a free ride that increases their chances of snatching tasty morsels of floating food. Some crabs have been known to live without anemone friends and others use sponges or coral instead. Still, the image of a brave little crab waving two stinging sea anemones about is supremely cute and literally quite cheering.
[via The Presurfer]
“Arthropod sub-species of the Insecta class. A creature whose instinctual and physical qualities have adapted so uniquely to the modern urban environment that it has rendered itself, by nature of camouflage, virtually invisible in it’s normal habitat. When seen in isolation ‘Litter Bugs’ appear to be composed of everyday ‘found’ objects.”
Mark’s beautiful Litter Bugs are made using materials like eyeglasses arms for antennae, clock hands for legs, and covers and pages from books that form delicate wings and carapaces. There are plenty of tiny gears, carefully cut-up tin boxes, fuses, and other beautiful old objects as well.
Each specimen has its own common and scientific names, both of which are based on some of the objects from which a particular creature has been composed. All of the insects are gathered in two beautiful zoological posters entitled A Compendium of Carabid & Terrestrial Detritus and A Treasury of Winged Insectum & Metamorphosibus.
Tomita’s creation process is both painstaking and time-consuming. After first preserving the animals in formaldehyde, he then removes the scales and skin. Next he soaks the creatures in a stain that dyes the cartilage blue. Tomita uses a digestive enzyme called trypsin, along with a host of other chemicals, to break down the proteins and muscles, halting the process just at the moment they become transparent. The bones are stained with red dye, and the specimen is preserved in a jar of glycerin. From start to finish, the entire production takes about five months to a year.
“People may look at my specimens as an academic material, a piece of art, or even an entrance to philosophy,” says Tomita. “There is no limitation to how you interpret their meaning. I hope you will find my work as a ‘lens’ to project a new image, a new world that you’ve never seen before.”
“Flamingos aside, you do not get to see the color pink in the animal kingdom a great deal. A notable exception is the pink katydid. Yet this is by no means a separate species – this coloring affects around one in 500. You may have already guessed that the condition is something similar to albinism.
Known as erythrism, the condition causes a curious reddish pigmentation. It can affect the body of an insect as well as its skin, and it is so rare that it was not noticed by western scientists until 1887. The reason for this oversight was perhaps due to the inclination of the insect to remain perfectly still during daylight hours.
You may also be wondering where this insect got its unusual name. It sounds like a scientific designation but in fact it comes from the noise that the insect makes which forms a song of sorts - katy did katy did katy did. There are literally thousands of species of katydids and many look like leaves or other shrubbery, some have even evolved to look like slime mold.”
Nope, this is not a movie monster. If you’ve watched the indescribably awesome BBC nature documentary series Life, then you might recognize this awesome little brute. And if you haven’t (which you really should), then allow us to introduce a fish with one of the best names we’ve ever heard: the Sarcastic Fringehead.
“The Sarcastic Fringehead is a ferocious fish which has a large mouth and aggressive territorial behaviour. They can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) wide and are mostly scaleless with great pectoral fins and reduced pelvic fins. With highly compressed bodies, some may be so widened as to appear eel-like. They tend to hide inside shells or crevices. After the female spawns under a rock or in clam burrows the male guards the eggs. They are found in the Pacific, off the coast of North America, from San Francisco, California, to central Baja California and their depth range is from 3 to 73 metres (9.8 to 240 ft).”
You can watch a clip from the Life episode that features the Sarcasting Fringehead here. That gaping maw is already impressive in the photo above, but seeing these fish in action really something else. Besides, as far as we’re concerned, listening to a little narration by Sir David Attenborough each day is good medicine. So here’s a dose.
More information about these awesome fish can be found here.
This awesome creature (yes, this really is a living thing, not a piece of candy or glass) is a Jewel Caterpillar (Acraga coa) spotted by naturalist and photographer Gerardo Aizpuru near Cancun, Mexico. No word if it tastes like a gummi worm, but we’ll let you take the first bite. Here’s Gerardo’s own description:
“Photo take in a mangrove area , found this Stoning translucent caterpillar lay on a Red Mangrove tree leaf this morning early. Just can believe there is some species like this around the world. looks like made of glass whit small red mushroom inside every pic. about 3 cm long.”
The bottom image, as you might’ve surmised, shows the bright and impressively furry moth that this wicked little caterpillar eventually becomes. Transforming from one sort of awesome creature into another different, but still entirely awesome, creature? We’re seriously impressed.
(Bottom photo taken by David Brownell)